Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Bird's Eye View of Jeremy Corbyn and Uk Labour Party antiSemitism

Image result for Jeremy Corbyn anti israel and antisemitism

An analysis of the British Labour party under the chairmanship of Jeremy Corbyn provides a panoramic view of many aspects of socialist anti-Jewish hate-mongering. The most extreme comments come disproportionately from Muslims, a subject that is taboo for the British media. The incitement is accompanied by a whitewashing of the party’s anti-Semitism problem, a whitewashing that is supported by a great majority of its members. The ongoing hate-mongering in the party has led to some unprecedented reactions by the British Jewish leadership.

In the past decades, Western European social democrat politicians and parties have been among the most extreme inciters against Israel. In several cases, there have also been expressions of anti-Semitism. Leading socialist politicians, including the late Swedish Socialist Prime Minister Olof Palme and the late Greek Socialist Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, have accused Israel of Nazi practices.

Only in the past two years, however, has a European socialist party – the British Labour Party – been exposed for widespread and extreme anti-Jewish incitement. Classic anti-Semitic as well as anti-Israel remarks by elected representatives have been published on a more or less ongoing basis. An analysis of the British Labour party provides a panoramic view of many aspects of socialist anti-Jewish hate-mongering.

In September 2015, extreme leftist Jeremy Corbyn became the party leader. A few months later, the first accusations about anti-Semitism concerning the Oxford University Labour Club became widely known. The party’s National Executive Committee chose to reveal only a limited summary of the findings exposed by Labour peer Lady Royall. Several months later the entire report was leaked to the press.

As the “anti-Semitism in Labour” issue started to interest the British media, it slowly became clear that extreme anti-Semitic expressions had been present in the party prior to Corbyn’s appointment. In 2014, for example, under previous Labour leader Ed Miliband, Naz Shah proposed – before she was elected MP in Bradford – that Israel should be relocated to the US. At that time, apparently no one was interested in publicizing this statement.

Among the expressions of anti-Semitic hate uttered by elected representatives, a disproportionate number has come from Muslims. This was the case during Miliband’s leadership and continues under Corbyn. Despite hundreds of articles on anti-Semitism in Labour, the specifically Muslim aspects remain taboo in the British media.

Miliband steered the party towards a proposal of recognition of a Palestinian state. This was possibly done to gain the support of Muslims during the May 2015 elections, as an estimated 4.5% of the British population are Muslim.

Image result for Jeremy Corbyn anti israel and antisemitism

Corbyn mixes with anti-Semites. He has donated money to, and attended gatherings of, a charity headed by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen. He has referred to the genocide-promoting Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations as his friends. When he came to power he promoted anti-Semites, including Ken Livingstone, to senior positions. Livingstone, the former mayor of London, was later suspended after his repeated claims that Hitler had supported Zionism in the 1930s. Livingstone resigned from the party in 2018.

It is not easy to identify which of Corbyn’s acts fall squarely within the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s definition of anti-Semitism, which was adopted by the UK government. In May 2018, Jonathan Arkush, outgoing President of the Board of Deputies, the umbrella organization of British Jewry, claimed that Corbyn held anti-Semitic views. He noted that the Labour leader had been chairman of the Stop the War organization, which is known for some of the worst anti-Israel discourse.

When media pressure concerning anti-Semitism in Labour became an issue, Corbyn appointed human rights activist Shami Chakrabarti in April 2016 to investigate the accusations. Her report was poorly written and unprofessional. Shortly afterwards, Corbyn proposed Chakrabarti for a peerage, which resulted in her becoming a baroness. Corbyn also appointed her the party’s Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales. Little has been heard from this supposed expert about ongoing Labour anti-Semitism.

It is by now abundantly clear that Corbyn has little desire to confront anti-Semitism in his party other than through general statements. As a result, the whitewashing of anti-Semitism in Labour has become a significant problem. In March 2018, a poll of paying Labour members found that 47% said anti-Semitism is a problem, but the extent of the problem is being exaggerated “to damage Labour and Jeremy Corbyn or to stifle criticism of Israel.” A further 30% said anti-Semitism is not a serious issue. Sixty-one percent thought Corbyn is handling the anti-Semitism claims well. Only 33% thought he is handling them badly.

The confrontation with anti-Semitism in one of the country’s two major parties has had an important impact on members of the Jewish community. Many of them no longer vote for Labour, and some have stopped donating. An unprecedented demonstration of the Jewish community against anti-Semitism in Labour took place in London outside a Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting. In a letter to the chair of the PLP, the Board of Deputies wrote: “Again and again, Jeremy Corbyn has sided with anti-Semites rather than Jews.”

In Parliament, several Jewish and pro-Jewish Labour MPs have reported that they have been subjected to tremendous harassment. Labour’s attempt to conquer the London constituency of Barnet – the most Jewish borough in the UK – failed in the May 2018 local elections.

The modest increase in Labour seats nationwide during those elections disappointed the party’s expectations and was seen as partly due to the anti-Semitism debate. Arkush went farthest, stating that Corbyn’s views could drive Jews to leave Britain if he were to become prime minister. He was one of the Jewish leaders who met Corbyn in April 2018, a meeting those leaders found disappointing.

Small groups on the Jewish left are enthusiastic supporters of Corbyn. He continues to provoke, and attended a Passover seder at Jewdas – a radical anti-Zionist Jewish organization that has called Israel a “steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of.”

In March 2018, Corbyn said that since he became party chairman, there have been 300 complaints about anti-Semitism. He said that of those accused, 150 people have either been expelled or resigned, and added that the backlog of complaints is 60 cases. However, the Daily Mail reported a backlog of 74 cases and said MP John Mann claims to be aware of another 130 complaints. One source in Labour told the paper: “Many of these cases include the most shocking and blatant anti-Semitism that would make even a committed Nazi blush.”

The disappointing local election results may have been the impetus for Labour’s announcement that it will speed up dealing with the complaints with the intention of clearing the backlog by the end of July. In view of the party’s checkered past under Corbyn, we will have to wait and see whether this promise will be fulfilled.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

#OyVeyDonald Trump in Syria, Chaos and Mayhem in the Middle East


Trump’s Passive-Aggressive Syria Policy Risks Creating More Mayhem in the Middle East
The United States is pursuing a worst-of-both-worlds mix of hawkish confrontation and strategic retrenchment


U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing on Syria in the White House on April 9. From left: U.S. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, and National Security Advisor John Bolton. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The addition of uber-hawkish fresh faces to President Donald Trump’s national security team raised justifiable worries that the president was assembling a “war cabinet.”

But as the limited targets of the U.S. missile strikes against Syria on Friday show, a continuation of the essence of Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East is far more likely: a worst-of-both-worlds mix of tactical, hawkish confrontation and an underlying strategic retrenchment.

Call it a passive-aggressive Middle East strategy — aggressive enough to turn up the heat on the region’s conflicts yet passive enough to ensure that the United States does not really invest in addressing them.

Trump’s approach undercuts U.S. influence and ability to shape outcomes in the region:

Rip up the Iran nuclear deal, but make no serious plans to challenge Iran in the region. Crush the Islamic State militarily, but walk away from the aftermath. Launch limited strikes into Syria (which we support) without a strategy — all while barring America’s doors to Syrian victims. Then declare“mission accomplished” as Syria burns.

Roll out the red carpet for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to Washington, but squander that leverage by writing him a blank check for continued regional conflict. Gain leverage, and then squander it. Rinse, repeat.

Delegate all meaningful follow-through down to the ghost ship of the nondefense national security bureaucracy. Strain the U.S. military by escalating tensions around the world and sending troops to a fake threat on America’s southern border at the same time. Trump has slapped the “America First” bumper sticker on a Middle East policy that does little to advance America’s interests or tackle its enduring challenges.

How will this approach play out on the ground?


The next two months will tell us a great deal. Just as Trump reshuffles his national security team, he has also arranged a series of self-imposed Middle East crises.

Over a single, head-spinning stretch in early May, Trump is likely to rip up the Iran nuclear deal and open a U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem — just as Iraqis head to the polls for national elections. And that was before Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s horrific chemical weapons provoked a U.S. military response — and raised the stakes of Trump’s musings on pulling U.S. troops out of eastern Syria.

Over the coming month and a half, Trump and his team could well make three unforced errors in the Middle East.


Iran

Trump seems ready to isolate the United States and undermine its leverage by pulling it out of the Iran nuclear deal. This would increase security tensions in the region while unilaterally removing from the United States a key tool blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon in the coming years. European countries, China, and Russia might well stay in the deal, and it remains to be seen what Iran would do. There is little evidence that Trump’s team — including John Bolton, the new national security advisor, and Mike Pompeo, the CIA director and Iran hawk whom Trump has nominated for secretary of state — is prepared to deal with the range of outreach and contingencies required to mount a credible campaign of renewed international pressure.

Looking beyond the deal to the broader region, the gap between Trump rhetoric and reality is wider still. The United States is largely bereft of an active strategy to engage and compete with Iran in the fields where it matters most, particularly regarding political and security situations on the ground.

Seeing the Trump team’s failure to compete in the nonmilitary, non-palace-pomp dimensions of regional leadership, one gets the feeling it views the United States as another regional monarchy, whose only tools are its Special Forces, Air Force, and royal court. And the results are likely to be similarly underwhelming unless the United States changes its approach.

Anti-Islamic State

The same brittle combination of aggressive militarism and strategic passivity may be also taking hold in the fight against the Islamic State.

Trump’s pledges, despite warnings from his team, to remove U.S. troops from eastern Syria “very soon” have been deferred, at least for now.

While we see the risks of continued presence, ultimately Trump’s proposed withdrawal would risk abandoning U.S. anti-Islamic State partners to Turkey, Russia, Iran, and the Syrian government. This could unleash a major new wave of fighting, mass displacement, and human suffering that might well breathe new life into the Islamic State.

Similar concerns exist in Iraq, where May elections represent a political inflection point. Whether the country can bridge its internal divisions is a key test of whether the military defeat of the Islamic State will be translated into a sustained political defeat. While attention is focused elsewhere, a great deal is at stake: Will Iraq’s next prime minister look to the United States, or will Iraq be dragged under Iranian domination? Will Iranian-backed militias be a problem to manage or coalition partners sharing the spoils? Will the Kurds unite to block a hard-line Iran-backed Shiite prime minister from dividing and ruling them?

The United States can have a significant impact in helping the new Iraqi government tackle the next phase in the fight against the Islamic State and define its relationship with its neighbors, particularly Iran and Saudi Arabia. But there is little evidence of such an effort underway amid all the churn at Trump’s National Security Council and the State Department. The risk is that, having invested so much into militarily defeating the Islamic State, the United States will needlessly fail to make a far smaller investment of resources and high-level attention to ensure that America can engage and compete. As an Iraqi told one of us, “He who does not show up has no influence.”
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The Trump team has promised a peace plan for Israelis and Palestinians but failed to do even the bare minimum to cultivate a Palestinian partner willing to engage in the process. By unilaterally moving the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem — taking Jerusalem “off the table,” to use Trump’s evocative phrase, without asking for any constructive steps from Israel in response — Trump’s plan may be dead on arrival.

As events this past week — not just in Syria but in Yemen and the Gaza Strip — demonstrate, the Middle East remains a dangerous tinderbox where ongoing conflicts in particular corners of the region could easily erupt into wider conflagrations. Trump carries out episodic actions in a strategic vacuum. Scratch beneath the surface of his rhetoric and militarism and, in many instances, you find a shabby disengagement with the underlying drivers and challenges.

The actions the United States takes this May in the Middle East may set a new tenor for America’s engagement. Trump seems ready to add more fuel to the fire of the Middle East’s conflicts, with neither the will nor the game plan to put those fires out.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Stability in Gaza is not directly proportionate to Economic Benefits


Economic Benefits Will Not Bring Stability to Gaza


Image result for hamas rally


The easing of economic conditions – a strategy that benefited Palestinian areas in the West Bank – is increasingly touted as the way to achieve political stability in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. But this strategy only works after the enemy is defeated.

Many experts claim that an easing of economic conditions in Gaza, particularly the granting of permission to Gazans to work in Israel, is the way to achieve political stability in a Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas.

This is a fallacious argument.

To understand why this is so, one must revisit the Marshall Plan for Europe, the most successful example in history of how economic largesse can facilitate the transformation of a destructive foe into a staunch and healthy ally. West Germany became a lynchpin in the security architecture of the Western alliance against the Warsaw Pact countries under the Soviet orbit.

No one can deny the success of the Marshall Plan, especially in contrast to the fallout from the destructive vindictiveness of western allies against Germany after World War I. Indeed, that vindictiveness contributed to the rise of Nazi Germany, forming the historical justification for the Marshall Plan.

By the same token, one can hardly deny the even greater importance of two geostrategic factors at the time that made such economic largesse towards a former enemy worthwhile.

First, the total defeat of Nazi Germany, and its subsequent occupation and division by the winning coalition, meant that the US and its allies could mold West Germany to their liking through denazification and democratic rule, just as the Soviet Union created an East Germany in its own totalitarian image.

Second, West Germany was, like the rest of free Europe, beholden to the US for its security in the face of a menacing Soviet Union and its satellite states.

In the face of these two basic facts, the Marshall Plan can be seen as having facilitated and reinforced a process.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s liberal economic policy towards the residents of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA), primarily the allowing of over 100,000 workers with or without permits to work in Israel, succeeded in part because it satisfied the two basic conditions that made the Marshall Plan successful.

At the height of the second intifada in 2002, Israel reconquered major towns in the PA that had become sanctuary areas for Fatah, PA-linked, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad terrorism. It has prevented the reemergence of sanctuary areas ever since through preventive arrests throughout the West Bank that run into the thousands annually.

Like Germany, the PA was essentially defeated. And as was the case with West Germany and the US, Israel and the PA became allied against joint enemies – Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

If the PA ever had any doubts about who was more threatening to Abbas’s rule, Israel or Hamas, those doubts were put to rest after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

It was only after these two conditions were met that economic prosperity could play its facilitating role.

And even then, the economic effects were limited compared to hard and fast political and military factors.

After all, even after workers from the West Bank were granted permission to commute to work in Israel, where they earn almost twice the wages of workers in the PA (after debiting commuting costs), over 250 Palestinians were motivated to commit murders in the wave of terrorism at the end of 2015-16.

The relative difference in the lethality of this terrorist wave – in which only 45 were killed compared to 800 in the second intifada by the same number of terrorists – was due not to a decrease in motivation but to the fact that they no longer had sanctuaries from which to organize elaborate suicide bombings or store large quantities of firearms.

In fact, by the time of the wave, the professional terrorist infrastructures of Hamas and Islamic Jihad had been thoroughly smashed.

In Gaza, neither of these conditions prevails. Gaza under Hamas rule remains a sanctuary area where Hamas can freely build up its military capabilities and launch a sophisticated campaign like the March of Return with little interference.

There is no common enemy that would render Hamas conciliatory, as was the case between the US and West Germany or between Israel and the PA.

Only a policy of toughness towards Hamas can induce it to assure stability and quiet in Gaza.

The three large-scale bouts of conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2008-9, 2012, and 2014 led the inhabitants of Gaza to demand that Hamas bring an end to the launching of missiles that had led to those clashes. Hamas acknowledged that pressure and acted upon it.

Further popular pressure after the failure of the March of Return campaign is likely to induce Hamas to stop campaigns of violence altogether.

Economic largesse at this point would only augment Hamas’s resources, as it taxes incoming goods and aid. That money will be funneled back to its hard core through campaigns such as the March of Return.

Gaza’s inhabitants voted in Hamas in 2006. They have lived to regret it. It is now incumbent upon them to defang their government by making sure it deals in butter, not guns.

Only when Hamas envisions its territory as a future Singapore rather than a murderous labyrinth of fundamentalist terrorism should economic benefits accrue to Gaza.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Porn is Jewish Conspiracy ....welcome to the Alt Right ( again)


Why the Alt-Right Thinks Porn is a Jewish Conspiracy

A few months ago, a user on a bodybuilding supplement forum asked if it was weird that he had a childhood crush on Lola Bunny from Space Jam.



“It’s not weird,” someone assured him. In fact, this someone added, there’s “a conspiracy from sinister guys at the top” to pornify popular culture, in order to get young boys so addicted to pornographic images that they develop “bad social skills” and are too weak and distracted to resist the elites in power. “Looks like it worked,” agreed another user, who then pressed ENTER 144 times and posted a gif of a fly rubbing its front legs together, with a hook-nosed, yarmulked Jewish caricature photoshopped on its head.

How did this bodybuilding forum go from Lola Bunny screenshots to anti-Semitic memes in less than 24 hours? Well, it turns out that despite the stereotype that alt-righters spend hours in their parents’ basements watching tentacle hentai, many of them are theoretically anti-porn. More specifically, they believe porn is a Jewish conspiracy to weaken white men and, if all goes according to plan, destroy Western civilization. (Honestly, this isn’t that different from how a lot of mainstream commentators talk about porn — but more on that later.)

I became aware of the alt-right theory of smut on February 11, 2018, the day after New York Times columnist Ross Douthat called for an outright ban on pornography. A conservative writer I follow on Twitter agreed with Douthat, and I replied with some practical concerns about what might happen if the porn industry became an unregulated black market. Then someone with the handle @SwiFT__1889 (a simultaneous tribute to alt-right icons Taylor Swiftand Charles Lindbergh) wrote this:


Lindy TayTay’s impassioned stance took me aback. All of men? The well-being of the masses? What was going on here?

After some clicking around, I found they’d recently retweeted Paul Nehlen, the white nationalist running for Paul Ryan’s seat in Congress, and the tweetlinked to a video titled “The Jewish Role in the Porn Industry.” That same day, February 11, Twitter suspended Nehlen’s account, and hundreds of his followers changed their avatar to Nehlen’s and used hashtags like #FreeNehlen and #JeSuisPaulNehlen.

The video in question was made by Mark Collett, former director of publicity for the British National Party (check out this 2002 video of baby Mark being interviewed by baby Russell Brand, featuring the line, “I just missed a call for you, ya Nazi!”). Since it was posted nine months ago the video’s garnered 80,000 views.

Collett’s argument is this: Jews have had a disproportionate presence in the porn industry since at least the 1970s. (There’s some truth to this, as we’ll see in a bit.) And they aren’t just motivated by profit — they actually mean to harm Western civilization, too. Young white men, Collett claims, become addicted to porn at an early age, to the point where they’re less and less interested in, or even capable of, actual sex. Furthermore, these young men’s addiction drives them to pursue ever greater highs, as the porn they used to watch no longer works for them. So they end up hooked on gay and trans porn, and interracial porn featuring black men and white women. This is why “cuck,” the porn trope of a white man forced to watch his wife have sex with a black man, became a popular alt-right term for anyone to their left.

The goal of this addictive material, supposedly, is to neuter and desexualize white men, and ultimately doom the white race. This is where the alt-right theory of porn ties into the larger theory of white genocide. The immigration of people of color into Europe and North America, coupled with the declining birth rate among white couples, will render white people a minority, if not altogether extinct, and then Jews will be the only high-IQ race left in the West, leaving them free to control the black and brown masses.

Collett is far from alone in his views. He’s joined by white nationalist and alt-right voices like David Duke, Kevin MacDonald, Identity Dixie, the Daily Stormer and this random YouTube commenter:
This was a response, by the way, to a video posted by The Golden One, a Swedish bodybuilder-fascist who frequently tweets out memes like this:
“It’s hard to find someone on the alt-right who doesn’t basically buy the ‘Jews created porn’ idea,” says Daniel E. Harper, who knows the ins and outs of the Alt-Right Extended Universe better than anyone who isn’t, you know, a Nazi. And according to Harper, the alt-right is generally in agreement that the purpose of porn is “to corrupt ‘the host society,’ i.e. white society.”
What’s the alt-right’s evidence? They like to point out that in 2016 Israel passed a law blocking all internet porn sites by default, requiring users to contact their ISP if they want access. In other words, the alt-right claims, Jews know porn is bad for you; they only want to spread the virus to other societies.
Another piece of evidence the alt-right cites over and over again is an articlepublished in the Jewish Quarterly 14 years ago, written by Nathan Abrams(now a film studies professor at Bangor University in Wales with a new bookout on Stanley Kubrick). Abrams argues that Jews have been, and continue to be, disproportionately influential in the American porn industry. He discusses such figures as Reuben Sturman, who built an adult-bookstore empire and became the nation’s largest smut distributor during the 1970s and 1980s; and Al Goldstein, the Screw magazine cofounder who first outed J. Edgar Hoover and gave Deep Throat (the film, not Hoover’s erstwhile deputy associate) its first signal boost. There’s also the gonzo porn pioneer Seymore ButtsSteven Hirsch, the founder of Vivid Entertainment, for years the largest porn studio in the world; and actors Ron Jeremy and Nina Hartley. (Collett would add to this pantheon Greg Lansky, CCO of the popular interracial site Blacked.com.)
Why the disproportionate Jewish presence in porn? Abrams suggests it was the same reason Jews dominated Hollywood from early on — it was an industry with a low barrier of entry and little respect from polite society. Plus, unlike in other industries, Abrams writes, “in porn there was no discrimination against Jews.” Abrams even speculates there’s a subversive element to Jewish involvement in porn, a middle finger “to the entire WASP establishment.” Indeed, Al Goldstein once claimed “the only reason that Jews are in pornography is that we think that Christ sucks.”
As you can imagine, Abrams has been getting crazy emails about this article for more than a decade. The alt-right takes advantage of Abrams’s legitimacy as a scholar, always making sure to mention he’s a professor, not a crank. But at the same time, they hold his scholarship in contempt; they say it’s evidence the Jews aren’t just undermining Western civilization — they’re bragging about it.
But Abrams says this alt-right conspiracy theory of porn is nothing new; it’s just the latest incarnation of a longstanding association of Jews with prostitution, STDs and sexual perversion. Hitler spent several pages of Mein Kampf bemoaning the spread of syphilis via Jewish pimps and prostitutes, which he feared could jeopardize the continuation of the Aryan race. The Nazis even had an umbrella term for prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, abortion and other forms of sexual degeneracy — “sexual Bolshevism,” which, like the “cultural Marxism” the alt-right blames everything on, is just a short hop away from blaming the Jews.
Even when they haven’t been anti-Semitic, critics of so-called sexual degeneracy have long been motivated by a desire to preserve the white race. As this ContraPoints video explains, the modern concept of degeneracy developed in the same post-Enlightenment stew as scientific racism. European and North American elites fretted that industrialization, urbanization and cosmopolitanism would transform vigorous white men into, well, beta cucks. Their societies would then weaken and decay until they were overpowered by more robust outsiders, just as the Huns and Visigoths supposedly conquered Rome because it was too busy having genderqueer orgies. “Impotent, decadent manhood,” writes historian Gail Bederman, would bring about “race suicide.”
For example, look at this British cartoon from the 1870s. An older man walks upon a newlywed couple and finds they’re pouting:
The young man is disappointed in the size of his new bride’s waist and the shape of her nose, which pale in comparison to the classical sculptures he’s obsessed with. His bride is similarly disappointed in his chin and lack of facial hair. They’re so educated and sophisticated that they’re more into erotic art than each other.
Furthermore, we know from this cartoonist’s other work that he feared the men in his society were becoming feeble soyboys indistinguishable from women:
So what was the solution to this epidemic of weak, over-civilized men? Boys and young men were encouraged to lift weights and go camping (this is where we get the Boy Scouts) and to stop playing with themselves. Americans who weren’t Jewish started circumcising their infant boys for the first time in significant numbers, in part because the sensitive foreskin was thought to be too great a temptation. The U.S. government cracked down on pornography, abortion and contraceptives, which were all seen as aiding and abetting race suicide.
But the truth is, when modern commentators criticize porn, they’re often using the same basic framework. For one thing, they don’t really care about porn’s impact on women. As the British lad-mag-editor-turned-anti-porn-advocate Martin Daubney puts it, “Porn is more of a problem for men than women.” He explains this by way of brain science, but the real thrust (or lack thereof) of his argument is that he cares more about what porn might do to men’s sexual prowess, “turning increasing numbers of men in their sexual prime into flops.”
The other telltale is when people fret over porn’s “threat to virility” and “collapsing birth rates.” I assure you they’re not worried about birth rates in Nigeria or Indonesia. Just as with the opioid epidemic or the old tire factory closing down, these commentators’ main concern is what porn will do to white men. When Douthat called for a ban on porn, he lamented that American society is “trending Japan-ward,” invoking the stereotype of an effeminate man more interested in furry manga than raising a family. This isn’t that different from the NoFap redditor who says, “White people are being outbred by Muhamed, Jamal, Chang and Enrique,” and then issues the clarion call of “don’t fap, breed.”
Are there serious problems with porn? Sure. But we can’t have that conversation if we’re narrowly focused on poor men degenerating into antisocial incels. The biggest problem with porn, after all, is that people have stopped paying for it! Pirated content powers free tube sites that promise bottomless wells of dopamine blasts, making porn both more addictive and more accessible to children.
If we started consuming porn ethically, we’d give a boost to better, more creative porn, and young folks could be exposed to sex that didn’t follow the pattern of bored kissing, bored blowjob, bored pussy-eating, bored missionary position, bored doggy-style, a little more bored blowjob, money shot. Paying for porn would also encourage productions with a more diverse array of bodies, skin tones and gender identities.
But we don’t want to have that conversation. If we think there’s a problem with porn, we’d rather blame “modern society,” the “elites” or “cultural Marxism,” and before you know it, you’re only a YouTube rabbit hole away from blaming the Jews for white genocide. We need to grapple with how the modern porn industry is shaped by neoliberalism, patriarchy and white supremacy, or else all we’re left with is the same tired story of white dudes suffering from death grip.

The Palestinian State and the threat to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan


The Danger to Jordan of a Palestinian State





Egyptian President Gamal Nasser brokering ceasefire ending Black September with PLO Chairman Arafat and King Hussein of Jordan, 1970, photo via Wikimedia Commons


 The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan stands to lose more than any other party from the establishment of a State of Palestine. While the potential dangers and complications for Israel of such a state could be significant, Jordan would face threats to both its social stability and its foundational idea: that it governs the Arab population on both banks of its eponymous river. In addition to the substantial political and security difficulties such a state would create for Jordan, it could also jeopardize its continued viability by shifting the locus of political leadership for a majority of Jordanians away from Amman and towards Ramallah.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Palestinian statehood is a moribund idea. Despite official pronouncements, none of the principal parties seem very keen on achieving it, least of all the PA.

However, if, through some unilateral action, a State of Palestine were to be declared in the territory comprising Areas A & B, the repercussions (mostly negative) would affect the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan more than any other party, including Israel.

The dangers to the Kingdom would manifest themselves on three levels: the political threat, the security threat, and the existential threat.

The Political Threat

With the establishment (or announcement) of a state of Palestine, the tensions that have characterized the relationship between the Palestinian organizations and the Hashemite Kingdom since the 1960s would take on an institutional concreteness, and would become a fixed feature of the new post-statehood scene. The recent tension over access and security management of the Temple Mount area provides a foretaste of the public embarrassments and diplomatic paralysis that would afflict the crucial Israel-Jordan relationship as a result.

Israel and Jordan are developing very close institutional relationships – perhaps the strongest in the region. Economic integration is moving apace, with significant portions of Jordan’s energy and water consumption to be provided by Israel. This provision is on track to reach such a level in the foreseeable future as to increase the likelihood that a sudden interruption would have catastrophic results for the Kingdom.

Cooperation and integration in the security sphere are arguably just as important. For decades, Jordan’s enemies, both internal and external, have had to reckon with a powerful pair of disincentives when contemplating violent action against the government: a first line of defense consisting of a tenaciously loyal Jordanian army, and a second in the form of an overwhelmingly powerful IDF.

Even with this background of increasing integration, the Jordan-Israel relationship is chronically strained by the adventurism and rejectionism of the PA leadership. That strain would worsen dramatically if the Palestinian leadership had full statehood rights at Arab and international fora.

The Security Threat

For a preview of the relationship Jordan would have with a State of Palestine across the river, one can look to Egypt’s current relationship with Hamas. The main difference is that Jordan’s troubles would be many times greater than those from which Egypt suffers today. The reasons are many:
  • Jordan’s border with the West Bank is longer and more porous than the one between Gaza and the Sinai.
  • The presence of Palestinian political forces, especially those supporting Hamas, are greater and more entrenched in Jordan’s political life than they are in Egypt’s.
  • Jordan’s south is both more populous and in some towns (notably Maan) more radicalized than the Sinai tribes who, under the banner of ISIS, have at times wrested control of parts of the peninsula from Egypt.
  • Perhaps most importantly, on cultural, linguistic, and ethnic grounds, the distinction between Egyptians and Gazans is much clearer than that between the Arabs living on either side of the Jordan River. As a result, cracking down on organized subversion or even a low-intensity insurgency in Jordan would feel more like a civil war. It would test the loyalty of the Jordanian armed forces, especially if Israel is seen as the Jordanian government’s partner in such an effort.
  • Last but not least, Jordan would have to contend with a security nightmare-scenario that would likely develop soon after a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. Such a declaration would probably precipitate an Israeli decision to pull the plug on a corrupt and ineffectual PA, a move that would almost certainly bring about its collapse. This would then be followed by a bloody struggle for supremacy between nationalists and Islamists, as occurred in Gaza. Because of the lack of contiguity between many towns in Areas A and B, the outcome will not be a speedy Hamas victory as occurred in Gaza in 2006, but a prolonged, low-intensity civil war with assassinations and sporadic outbreaks of mass violence. Israel would probably limit itself to containing and preventing the violence from spilling into Area C and beyond.

Regardless who gains the upper hand, West Bank Arabs able to escape this bloody mess will do so in a hurry, and will head in the only direction open to them: eastwards, to Jordan. The Kingdom will then be faced with two unhappy choices: either to absorb yet another large wave of restive refugees into a system already bursting at the seams, or to reassert, with likely Israeli acquiescence, limited administrative and security prerogatives over the afflicted areas in the West Bank in order to forestall a greater humanitarian catastrophe and the mass exodus such a catastrophe would precipitate.

The Existential Threat

It is arguable that these threat scenarios could be handled by a Jordanian leadership and army that have repeatedly demonstrated resilience in crises of greater duration and severity. However, setting aside all the situational challenges that a declaration of Palestinian statehood would engender for Jordan, a qualitatively greater long-term strategic threat will inevitably develop for the Kingdom from the realization of Palestinian statehood.

It is a fact that most Palestinians are Jordanian and most Jordanians are Palestinian. More precisely stated: a majority of those who self-identify as Palestinians inside and outside Jordan carry a Jordanian passport (including Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mash’al); and a majority of Jordan’s resident population self-identify as Palestinians. This has been Jordan’s chronic conundrum since the late 1950s, when Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser began actively incubating a separatist Palestinian nationalism in direct challenge to Jordan’s formal custody of West Bank Arabs. Simply put, the putative Palestinian national identity was the result of an Egyptian anti-Hashemite campaign begun in the late 1950s and institutionalized with the creation of the PLO at the Cairo Arab Summit of 1964.

This anti-Hashemite campaign was at the core of Jordan’s most dangerous cascade of crises in 1959, 1967, 1970-71, 1986, and 1988. A formal declaration of Palestinian statehood would take it to a much more dangerous level for the simple reason that a state cannot long survive when a majority of its citizens claim the national identity of a neighboring (and likely adversarial) state.

This concept is easily grasped. If, for example, a majority of Guatemala’s citizens self-identified as Mexican, Guatemala would simply turn into a cultural and political vassal of Mexico.

Similarly, the national identity of Jordan and its political viability will be difficult to sustain if a majority of its citizens owe political allegiance to a foreign, neighboring, albeit Arab state. Such a state would be able to indirectly steer the affairs of Jordan by mobilizing a sizable part of the citizenry to do its bidding if its interests conflict with those of the Jordanian government.

Setting aside the official Jordanian posture towards the conflict, the political class in the Kingdom must be aware of these threats from a future Palestinian state, especially the first two. But it also needs to be aware that the entire edifice of the Palestinian national movement is a political construct of Jordan’s Arab enemies that was meant to make the country ungovernable by the late King Hussein. In their origins and practice, Palestinian nationalist organizations, regardless of their rhetoric, have been more anti-Hashemite than anti-Zionist. These organizations have always claimed to represent a majority of Jordan’s citizens, a dangerous claim for any country. For Jordan, such a claim becomes intolerable when concretized in an adjacent state whose leadership has a history of serially attempting to sabotage Hashemite rule.

In the view of many Jordanians, the disengagement announcement of 1988, which formally recognized the PLO as sole representative of the “Palestinians” (a majority of Jordan’s citizens), was a mistake that sundered the national demographic unity of the country in response to Arab political pressures. The conditions that generated those pressures are now gone – indeed, they are reversed. Consequently, Jordan should consider reversing the announcement (which, constitutionally speaking, remains invalid to this day because it was never ratified by Jordan’s parliament). This would be in the best interest of Jordan’s citizens on both banks, and in the best interests of peace and stability in the region.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Time for a Independent ( relatively) Gaza Strip Entity ?


Time to Reach a Settlement with a Functional and Restrained Entity in the Gaza Strip

The idea of the “March of Return,” which was initiated by civil organizations in the Gaza Strip seeking once more to direct the attention of the international community to the suffering of the local population by means of mass demonstrations along the border, was hijacked by Hamas. Hamas pushed aside the organizers of the project and in effect took over the production and direction of the events. For its part, Israel is capable of accommodating a hostile entity living beside it, as long as this entity is restrained, deterred, and functional. This aim can only be achieved after Israel recognizes the need to develop separate strategies vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, exhaust every possibility of taking advantage of Hamas’s current weakness, and leverage Hamas’s willingness for a long term hudna. The proposed strategy is also based on the understanding that the Palestinian Authority will not resume its rule in the Gaza Strip in the foreseeable future, and that effort must be invested to consolidate the PA’s governance in the West Bank and improve the living conditions, freedom of movement, and economy in that area, while also securing the conditions for the future achievement of two nation states.
Since late March 2018, a campaign along the border of the Gaza Strip has been underway, based on a rationale shaped by Hamas, which took control of a civilian initiative that provided the organization with an escape route from its current strategic hardship. The idea of the “March of Return,” which was initiated by civil organizations in the Gaza Strip seeking to refocus the attention of the international community on the suffering of the local population by means of mass demonstrations along the border, was hijacked by Hamas. Hamas pushed aside the organizers of the project and in effect took over the production and direction of the events.

Hamas’s difficulties stem from four main reasons:

a. The failed reconciliation process with Fatah, which resumed after Hamas announced its failure to administer the civil realm in the Gaza Strip and expressed its willingness to transfer relevant powers to the Palestinian Authority;

b. The severe humanitarian plight in the Gaza Strip and the mounting frustration of the local population;

c. The significant erosion of the value of its strategic military assets, given the defensive and neutralizing elements that have been developed by the IDF;

d. Hamas’s essential lack of desire and readiness to enter into another large scale military clash with the IDF.

Thus, the campaign along the border fence serves a number of Hamas’s strategic goals, most importantly by diverting the mounting frustration among the local population toward Israel and demonstrating the organization’s commitment to the struggle against Israel, which necessarily comes at the expense of the status of the Palestinian Authority. At the same time, it serves to refocus international attention on the Gaza Strip, strengthen the narrative of Palestinian victimhood, exhaust the IDF forces along the border over a long period of time, and delegitimize Israel.

The failure of the reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas underscores that only an extremely slim chance exists that the Palestinian Authority will regain control of civil administration in the Gaza Strip. In reality, there are two separate Palestinian entities, each of which is hostile to the other and both of which struggle against Israel: Hamas, which leads the armed struggle and, in the current campaign, the local popular struggle as well; and the Palestinian Authority, which leads the popular struggle and the political struggle in the international arena. However, security and economic coordination and cooperation exists between Israel and the Palestinian entity in the West Bank, and some local civilians are even permitted to work in Israel and in the industrial areas of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The inhabitants of this region enjoy a significantly higher standard of living than the residents of the Gaza Strip, as well as more extensive freedom of movement.

The current campaign along the border with the Gaza Strip reminds us that under the present circumstances – most prominently the split in the Palestinian arena and the severe humanitarian and infrastructure conditions in the region – the Gaza Strip will continue to constitute a strategic challenge for Israel even when the current phase within it comes to a close. However, Israel’s position and policy regarding Hamas and the Gaza Strip perpetuate this situation and therefore also fuel the underlying conditions for security escalation.

Based on the assumption that Hamas will remain the sovereign power in the Gaza Strip and that Israel does not intend to take action to remove it from power and replace it with other leadership or govern the Gaza Strip on its own, Israel needs to examine the possibility of coming to terms with this hostile entity on its border and formulating a strategy to regulate its relations with it, including by means of security understandings and even a limited degree of security coordination. This presumably would create a chance for ongoing quiet along and around the border.

Israel, with the assistance of Egypt and the involvement of the international community, can develop mechanisms of regulation and interaction vis-à-vis Hamas, even without mutual recognition and without direct contact. These mechanisms could serve to facilitate a more effective response, in comparison to what exists today, to the humanitarian hardships that currently prevail inside the Strip; to restrain Hamas from attempts to strike at Israel; and to improve its civil governance in the Gaza Strip. After all, there is not necessarily a contradiction between the Gaza Strip being a hostile entity and the ability to develop mechanisms of regulation and interaction.

Such a course of action would be conditional upon undermining the equation that was established between Israel and Hamas since its security closure of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, whereby the Palestinian Authority is the only official party with which Israel will engage in dialogue. Israel must come to terms with the existence of both distinct Palestinian entities and strive to establish a reality based on an arrangement that will be less than a final status settlement, with conceptual and operative separation between the policy toward the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the separate policy to be developed and sharpened vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip. The proposed strategy, then, calls for striving to reach an arrangement with Hamas, which will necessarily strengthen it and could serve to weaken the status of the Palestinian Authority. This arrangement would promote a long term hudna with Hamas.

In recent months, Hamas spokespeople have conveyed messages indicating a willingness on their part to reach a long term hudna with Israel. This was not the first time that such sentiments have been voiced. However, the idea never took shape due to conditions advanced by Hamas for its implementation, as well as Israel’s unwillingness to consider a possibility in this direction, which would necessarily mean recognition and legitimization (albeit indirect) of Hamas and its control over the Gaza Strip. This time, as well, a process leading to an agreement over a hudna between Israel and Hamas, whether declared or implied, will be complicated. However, in light of Hamas’s hardships and the hopelessness of the Gaza population (which in itself constitutes a threat to Hamas’s rule and the danger of a chaotic reality as a result of its undermining or fall), its fundamental willingness for a hudna (which is also encountering opposition within Hamas’s ranks and leadership) can be viewed as a basis for a greater feasibility of actualizing the idea.

To advance the idea, Israel will need to qualify the reservations of the international community in general, and the European Union in particular, regarding its intentions regarding Hamas and regarding the Palestinian Authority. However, the Palestinian Authority now is neither present nor governing in the Gaza Strip in any event, and there is currently no concrete chance of a change in this situation. Therefore, adhering to the condition that all contributions to the Gaza Strip be made through the Palestinian Authority and that the PA be returned to power in the Strip actually helps perpetuate the problematic reality in the Strip and, at the same time – in part because the political process is currently at a dead end – does not serve to strengthen the Palestinian Authority.

The first stage of a process of regulating interactions with Hamas in the Gaza Strip will require the work of a mechanism led by representatives of the involved parties and Hamas that is charged with supervising the use, and preventing the abuse, of donated funds. The possibility of using this mechanism to transfer a relative portion of the tax revenues collected by Israel for goods and services into the Gaza Strip should be considered. Next, and subject to Hamas’s fulfillment of the terms of the agreement, the possibility of expanding its powers regarding the management of the donated funds should also be considered. Israel will also need to recruit Egypt as a major partner in the process vis-à-vis Hamas. Egypt’s contribution will need to take the form of the regular operation of the Rafah border crossing, securing Hamas’s commitment to the process, and restraining the organization. At the same time, it will be necessary to create the conditions for channeling the relief funds to the rebuilding of essential infrastructure and economic incentives, including through the establishment of industrial areas on the border of the Strip. Such areas will provide a location for advancing and implementing joint industrial initiatives that will provide employment. Israel will be able to help create conditions for the normalization of the local population if it considers adopting an approach that is more flexible regarding the import and export of goods to and from the Strip and increasing the number of entry permits for commercial traders, workers, and those in need of medical treatment.

Israel already has experience building mechanisms aimed at regulating relations with Hamas (the principles of the security perimeter that were formulated through Egyptian mediation following Operation Pillar of Defense), and doing so would therefore not be setting a precedent. Nonetheless, this time, Israel could begin reshaping its policy regarding the Gaza Strip with the aim of leveraging Hamas’s current weakness and the willingness for a hudna that is taking shape among influential elements within Hamas’s leadership, led by the organization’s leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar. Although Hamas is not expected to dismantle its military wing even within the framework of a hudna, there is reason to believe that it will be possible to reach agreements regarding the cessation of its military buildup and its efforts to develop offensive means against Israel in the underground, maritime, and air realms.

In parallel, and in order to reduce the effect of the new policy toward Hamas on the status of the Palestinian Authority, Israel will need to present a policy for conduct vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority itself. In this realm, Israeli policy will need to be based on three primary foundations: a) preservation of Israel’s ability to engage in security activity in the West Bank; b) striving to improve the economic and infrastructure reality in the West Bank, including the creation of transportation contiguity and authorization for the construction of Palestinian infrastructure in the parts of Area C that are adjacent to Area A; and c) a commitment to refrain from expanding settlements outside the settlement blocs.

Israel is capable of accommodating a hostile entity living beside it, as long as this entity is restrained, deterred, and functional. This aim can only be achieved after Israel recognizes the need to develop separate strategies vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, exhaust every possibility of taking advantage of Hamas’s current weakness, and leverage Hamas’s willingness for a long term hudna. The proposed strategy is also based on the understanding that the Palestinian Authority will not resume its rule in the Gaza Strip in the foreseeable future, and that effort must be invested to consolidate the PA’s governance and rule in the West Bank and improve the living conditions, freedom of movement, and economy there, while also securing the conditions for the future achievement of two nation states.